Thursday, May 27, 2004

Running out Of Water Might Be A Reminder

The other day water was cut in our neighborhood as well as in the whole region of “Les Berges du Lac” where I happen to work. People were pissed off, they were swearing with their faces showing displeasure and dissatisfaction. On the streets, all what one can see is people going to the nearest water source available to fill whatever they could find in front of them: empty bottles, empty cans, empty buckets … etc. Some went to the closest mini-market and bought as much water supply as they could bare to carry.
All of a sudden, people couldn’t survive an extra minute without a drop of water. When in fact, at that time of the day (at around 10 a.m.) few are the ones who’d actually need to wash their hands, or water the plants, or , or ,or. But it’s always like that, when there is something missing, you feel a sudden need for it even if you don’t seriously need it. During the month of Ramadan for example, when Muslims fast, a person feels like eating a main dish at 8:30 a.m. When in a place with a “NO SMOKING PLEASE” sign written at the door, one can no longer resist the temptation of a cigarette in his/her pocket. It’s human nature I guess, whenever something is no longer available, missing, or not allowed, you find people suffering to get this unavailable thing or do that prohibited act. There are some interesting Arabic sayings that are used to express such things; when something is not allowed to be done we say: “Kol mamnou’o marghoub”: everything prohibited is wanted. When you have someone you got bored of, or you started hating and then you leave that person, or they’re no longer there (dead or left you, or whatever) then we say: “ma bti’iraf kheeri la tjarrib gheeri”: you wont appreciate my value, until you try someone else.
There is also this very funny, yet meaningful saying which applies to the situation in where water was cut, it says: “zay il hammam illi maqtou’ah maytoh”: like a public toilette or a public bathing place (Hammam) when water is suddenly cut. This saying is used in any situation where chaos, panic, noise and similar status of mess are to be described, because when people are taking a shower in a public place and need water the most, then it’s suddenly not available, people run out for help to wash away the soap in their eyes, or to warm their cold bodies, and they all create such a fuss. In short Les Berges du Lac was just like a Hammam run out of water :P
And among all those angry people, I was the only happy face with a big smile, not because I hate water, and not because I enjoy watching people suffering, but because I know this is the only way people would be reminded of how important water is, so they’d finally WAKE UP and stop wasting it.
As a matter of fact, I believe one of the most effective ways to make people more aware of the problem our planet is facing in terms of water availability is to cut the water every now and then in each country. In Jordan they used to have 2 days every week where they’d pump water for citizens to use, and the rest of the week, people should manage with what they’ve saved in these days. But they didn’t do it because they wanted people to be more aware, they did it because they had so low rain levels in winter. So it always depends on the water collected from winter that they either cut water or left people to enjoy consuming water as much as they want because they have a lot of storage. But even if the main point was saving just for lack of water available, still it worked positively because I grew up so aware of one fact: water is the most important, and it’s not always there, so we have to use it economically.
I hope people try to save as much water as they can, each in their field of life. At work, home, schools, universities, everywhere. And let me end this post with a verse from Quran that says: “Wa ja’alna min al ma’ie kola shay’in hay”, which means: water is the source of all living forms. And water doesn’t stand for H2O in the form we drink only, but all forms derived from these elements. Water is the source, let’s make it last.